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Opening Madonna Triptych
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Opening Madonna Triptych


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This rare and unusual Vierge ouvrante ("opening Madonna") takes the form of a triptych which, when closed, shows the Virgin enthroned, and, when open, displays scenes from the Passion of Christ. The statuette, unique in the world, was carved around 1200, a date supported by recent scientific tests (including carbon-14 dating) on the age of the ivory. Although similar in style to sculpture seen on cathedrals near Paris, such as at Sens, original ownership of the Vierge ouvrante can only be traced back to the priory of Boubon, near Limoges (central France), at the time of the French Revolution (1789).
Conservation

The object had been condemned by several art historians as a modern fake. A review of the objects history, an examination of the object, and radiocarbon dating of the ivory suggest a Medieval date.

Date Description Narrative
10/01/1945Treatmentcleaned
2/26/1957Examinationexamined for condition
5/25/1959Treatmentrepaired
5/17/1963Treatmentrepaired
9/22/1995Loan Considerationexamined for loan
12/27/1995Technical Reportmass spectrometry
Exhibitions
  • Exposition rétrospective de l'art français au Trocadéro. Paris. 1889.
  • Artful Deception: The Craft of the Forger. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, Grosse Pointe Shores; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City; Portland Museum of Art, Portland; The Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, Nashville; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester; The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport. 1987-1992.
  • To Arrest the Ravages of Time: Caring for Art at the Walters. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1996.
  • Images in Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic Age. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997.
  • Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
Provenance Wings: Priory of the Convent of Boubon; Anne Hugonneau, Convent of Boubon [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Jean Hugonneau-Beaufet, Saint-Mathieu, 1826, by inheritance; Pierre Hugonneau-Beaufet, Dournazac, 1839, by gift; Pierre Hugonneau-Beaufet's niece [date of acquisition unknown], by inheritance; Sailly, Limoges, 1897, by inheritance; [in 1897, the wings and central panel were joined]; Jacques Seligmann, Paris, ca. 1900, by purchase; Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; George Harding, London, 1902, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1903, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest. Central panel: Priory of the Convent of Boubon; Chaperon, caretaker of the Convent of Boubon, ca. 1792 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Chaperon's daughter, wife of Duvoisin [date of acquisition unknown], by inheritance; Antonin Duvoisin [date of acquisition unknown], by inheritance; Antonin Duvoisin's sharecropper, 1897, by inheritance; Lavergne, Abjat, 1897, by gift; [in 1897, the wings and central panel were joined]; Jacques Seligmann, Paris, ca. 1900, by purchase; Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; George Harding, London, 1902, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1903, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1903

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Creator
Period
1180-1220 (Medieval)
Medium
ivory
(Ivory & Bone)
Accession Number
71.152
Measurements
open H: 17 1/8 x W: 11 1/16 x D: 2 1/2 in. (43.5 x 28.1 x 6.4 cm)
Geographies
  • Sens, France (Place of Origin)
  • Boubon (in present-day Haute-Vienne, France) (Place of Origin)

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